I never quite understood the difference between jam, jelly, preserves, compote etc. Oh! I forgot to add marmalade to this mix. Growing up, all I knew was Jam and just like how noodles was always Maggi, jam almost always meant Kissan Mixed Fruit Jam. The world of jelly, preserves, marmalade were explored only in our imagination thanks to Enid Blyton but our reality was starkly different from these books that we read. Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: sugar
Growing up, the fall-back evening snack in my house would be a biscuit. Biscuits to me are what cookies are to kids that grow up in America. They were sold in all shapes and sizes, with different flavoring and the queen of them all was the “cream biscuit”, in which flavored icing was sandwiched between two thin biscuits. These baked goodies were not loaded with sugar or fat and were a reasonably healthy after-food snack for kids or tea time snack for adults, or when you just felt like nibbling on something. There were several popular brands (Milk Bikis, Marie come to my mind) and also, equally famous was the neighborhood bakery store-bought no-brand name, what we used to call, “butter biscuits”. These are very similar to these shortbread cookies by Meeta. After reading Meeta’s post, I really wanted to re-create those biscuits that were part of my childhood and the cookie bake-off that happened during the holiday season was the perfect excuse. I did some more research and found this recipe at Arusuvai (in Thamizh), meaning six tastes, which turns out to be pretty similar to Meeta’s recipe. The recipe from Western Europe and from the heartland of South India are uncannily close – may be it was the British influence. Whatever be it, these uncanny culinary or other such similarities never cease to amaze me. Read the rest of this entry »
Buoyed with the success of Mysore pak, M and I started thinking of the next sweet that can be made. We were totally unprepared, so it had to be something that we could make with the ingredients we had in hand (can’t go shopping at 11:00 in the night 🙂 ). After brainstorming a few potential candidates, we zeroed in on payatham Urundai (aka Moong Dhal Balls) – all it requires is payatham paruppu (split moong dhal), ghee and sugar – ingredients that are available in every desi household.
At 11 in the night, M & I started roasting payatham paruppu, as we were chatting or rather reminiscing our (childhood) memories on Deepavali. How our moms had their trademark snacks that they prepared without fail for every Deepavali (for my mom, no doubts here, it was Mysore Pak and for hers it was Chocolate cake, which I am hoping to make soon) and ended up creating their own tradition that we try to follow, tweak to make ours. It was an interesting evening with a lot of girly chatter and catching up that ended in a promise, or rather hope, that we try and do this for every Deepavali.
Two of my fondest memories of Deepavali are the smell of fresh, hot-off-the-stove mysore pak within the house and the fumes from firecrackers outside. My mom would spend the day before Deepavali in making various kinds of sweets and savories that culminated in dinner(the high point) – poori-masal – poori with potato masala, one of the most popular dishes in South India. She always started with Mysore Pak – a simple sweet, containing just 3 ingredients yet complicated in its own way and hence, difficult to master. It also happens to be one of my favorite sweets (well, I am a self-confessed sweet-o-phile 🙂 ), so I try to follow my mom’s tradition and make mysore pak first and stop right there, as well – he he!
This year, M (who comments here regularly) and I decided to get together to make the Deepavali bhakshanam(snacks). M’s mom (who again is a regular reader / commentator of this blog) had already made yummy omapodi (thin sev flavored with ajwain) and “Deepavali marunthu”, literally means “Deepavali medicine”, which is quite unique to Deepavali. Made of medicinal elements like pepper and ginger, a small bit of this marunthu goes a long way in healing indigestion after gorging during the festival.
All those who read the comment entries on Golu would know that I made a maida (all-purpose flour) sweet for Navaratri. I am calling it “a maida sweet” cos I am not sure what I should call it 🙂 I started out making maida cake, and what I ended up with was not firm like a cake or runny like a halwa. Left with a sweet that tasted awesome (if I may say so) but was shapeless, I decide to roll them into balls and press them down like a peda.
My dear friend Laksh and her husband K were visiting us last weekend and folks who read her blog would know that it was K’s bday last week. As it is more than 5 years since I met them in person, I decided to do something special when they were here, which coincided well with his b’day. I have been wanting to bake this cake from Indira, ever since I laid my eyes on it. What can be a better time to bake this cake than this?
I love anything sweet, no two ways about it; if it has milk, even better. My theory is anything (read any dessert / sweet) made with milk and sugar cannot taste bad. I love my pedhas, rasmalai, paal khova, shrikhand and the list is pretty much endless. The first time I heard about the Tres leches (Three milk in Spanish) cake, I knew it was my kind of cake. I never quite realized it was fairly easy to make at home, till I saw the recipe @ Mansi’s Fun and Food. So when presented with an opportunity to bake a cake (aka birthday of a near and dear one), no points for guessing the cake I made 🙂
The difficulty for me while making this cake was getting the sponge cake right, as I was baking without eggs. I still have some way to go before getting it right, but overall I was satisfied with the end result.
As food-bloggers, in our quest to cook exotic food, we tend to give a miss to some of the everyday food, that are simple to cook and very satisfying. These everyday foods are staple in most households, dished out day-in and day-out, and as one starts to find their footing around the kitchen, these are the dishes that they first foray into. These dishes make or break a person’s interest in cooking and hence, although rarely given their due, play a very pivotal role. In this series, Freshmen Cooking, I hope to bring attention to these dishes. Also, I am hoping this will help kindle interest to cook in all those non-foodies out there 🙂
The idea for this post was triggered by an email conversation that I had with a friend – she wanted to know how do I prepare chai (the milky Indian version of tea), do I use any special tea leaves or spices? Her complaint was that her attempt at preparing chai was not as fruitful, and she wanted to know a fool-proof way of making chai with exact measurements. I immediately replied to her mail with instructions and used to eye-balling, I found this a little challenging. This set me thinking – how many times when I first ventured into the kitchen, have I pestered my mom to give me exact measurements – how much tamarind do I need for sambar or how much salt should I add to rasam? We all go through that stage, when as beginners we need exact measurements and instructions and slowly graduate to eye-balling 🙂 That is when I realized that for every foodie out there, there are probably 1000 (if not more) others that are novices, who have no idea about cooking and they would need recipes that are easy and simple to prepare, not laborious ones that will scare them away for life. The motivation for this series is to chronicle easy, simple, everyday food that will make cooking a pleasure and get people interested enough to venture into the exotic territory 🙂 Let’s begin cooking!
My dear blogger-friend UL had requested me to make Baklava and post the recipe here. Making baklava is an easy but patient-demanding and time -consuming procedure. I have made it couple of times before, and I follow the recipe by Gretchen, the instructions here are concise and precise, with additional FAQs. She even has tips on how to cut the Baklava 🙂
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Or should I say sweet yet spicy…
M is a dear friend of mine and her mom was visiting her recently. Whenever all of us meet, we have some interesting conversations and never run out of topics to discuss, and of course, there is always food. Food is in plenty with her around and she loves to feed – she would constantly be trying out something new, either a new recipe or a gadget. I have picked up quite a few recipes/tricks from her. Thanks mami!
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